Miguel Figueroa (born July 29, 1953) has been the leader of the Communist Party of Canada since 1992. Figueroa was born in Montreal. He was a student activist with the National Union of Students joining its staff as national organizer.
He joined the Communist Party in 1977 and held many positions within it including party organizer in Vancouver from 1978 to 1985, and leader of the party's Atlantic branch (based in Halifax) from 1986 to 1992. The protracted ideological and political crisis created much confusion and disorientation within the ranks of the Party, and paralysed both its independent and united front work for over two years. Ultimately, the Hewison-led majority in the party's Central Committee voted to abandon Marxism-Leninism. An orthodox minority, led by Elizabeth Rowley, Figueroa and former leader William Kashtan, resisted this effort. In August 1991, evidence was revealed of the plans of the leadership to liquidate the party and seize its assets. The Hewison group reacted by expelling 14 leading members of those in opposition, suspending the Ontario Provincial Committee, and introducing 'loyalty oaths' which had to be signed by all members. As a result, they took the Communist Party to court. An out-of-court settlement resulted in the Hewison leadership relinquishing the name "Communist Party of Canada", while taking most of the old party's assets to the Cecil-Ross Society, a publishing and educational foundation previously associated with the party. The convention elected a new central committee with Figueroa as the Party's leader in December 1992.
The new party, with only a few hundred members, was much smaller than the old one and had lost a number of assets, including the party's headquarters at 24 Cecil Street in Toronto. The CPC was not in a position to run fifty candidates in the 1993 federal election, the number required to maintain official party status. As a result, the newly-relaunched CPC was deregistered by Elections Canada, and its remaining assets were seized by the government. A prolonged legal battle, Figueroa v. ensued, resulting in a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 2003 that overturned a provision in the CanadaElections Act requiring fifty candidates for official party status (the number had been increased by an act of parliament in the intervening years). Earlier in the legal battle, the party had its deregistration overturned and its seized assets restored.
February 25, 2010